Our bodies react to our natural surroundings. If it’s cold out, we shiver. Conversely, if it’s hot out, we sweat. The same can be said about our bodies if we find ourselves in a stressful situation. It’s a chain reaction within our bodies in response to outside stressors. This is called the Fight or Flight Response.
The science behind it
When I took anatomy and physiology classes in college, I was quite intrigued over just what the body can do. The muscular system. The skeletal system. The respiratory system. The nervous system. It is the nervous system that undergoes the changes during the fight or flight response.
When we are faced with any kind of danger (whether it be real or perceived), our bodies undergo a biochemical response. It sets off a chain reaction in the body’s sympathetic nervous system. The adrenal glands are stimulated, thereby triggering the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. It is these two things that cause the rapid heart rate, the rise in blood pressure, and the increased breathing rate.
Our bodies have a way of calming themselves, too. When the threat is removed (either by us fighting it or fleeing it), it takes our bodies up to one hour to return to a calm state.
How it relates to Narcissistic Abuse
We what endure at the hands of the Narcissists is nothing short of a threat to our environment. Our world. Our well-being. Their underhanded tactics strike low and cause us to lose our balance, emotionally and even physically.
Since my NX discarded me 7 years ago, I have disliked confrontations. This is why. The fight or flight response triggers us to either stand up and fight the threat against us (the Narc), or run from them. For a long time, this feeling I got inside when these tactics would rear their ugly heads would trigger my bodily stresses. At first I fought him tooth and nail. It caused him to get angrier. As time went on and I became “conditioned” to accept the abuse, it caused me to want to hide. Yes, I wanted to run away and not deal with what he was dishing out to me. After a while, I lost my moxie. I lost my will to fight him over everything. That is why I hate confrontations.
As survivors of this type of abuse, this fight or flight response will be triggered any time we face something that is even remotely similar in nature to what we endured with the Narcissists. This is a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (See my post PTSD As A Result Of Narcissistic Abuse for more information.) Even 7 years later, I still feel my heart-rate increase when my NX emails me. It’s a conditioned response, just like Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned to salivate upon hearing the ringing bell.
Dealing with the fight or flight response
I’ll admit that there are times when I don’t “deal” with it well. I still get anxious when my NX contacts me via email, text or phone call. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. Why haven’t I gone no contact? I wish I could go complete no contact with him. I really do. But I have children with him and he has custody, so full-on no contact is not possible. I use what’s called Minimal Contact. (See my blog Going No Contact: A List Of What To Do And What Not To Do for more info.)
But what can we do to help calm ourselves while this is happening, or even after it has happened?
Oh, there’s lots you can do. I found the best things to work for me have been deep breathing exercises, meditation and grounding. Grounding is a neat technique that I learned in therapy. (See the pic below for a quick how-to.)
You see, my warrior survivor friends, we need to center ourselves again after what we’ve been through. Bring about some semblance of peace and tranquility. I know that it seems like that is an impossible thing to accomplish, especially the hell we’ve been through.
But it CAN happen. It will take time and practice. Just keep moving forward in your healing journey.
What are your thoughts on the fight or flight response? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
The Top 10
Here you will find my most popular posts for easier discovery.
How Narcissists Make Sure You Never Solve Problems In A Relationship
The Fake Apology
How I Lost My Identity
Effects of Emotional Abuse
Emotionally Abusive Behaviors
Tightening Your Facebook Privacy Settings
Why You Should Never Defend Yourself Against The Narcissist's Smear Campaign
Going No Contact: A List Of What To Do And What Not To Do
An Open Letter To All Survivors Who Just Got Out Of An Abusive Situation
The Great Manipulator
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.